1. What was your first vintage acquisition and where is it now?
When I was approximately 6 years old, I went with some of the older neighborhood children to a High School Fair and there was a White Elephant table. I purchased a pretty woven pearl choker. I still have it after all these years and it's in my jewelry box!
2. What was your favorite or best buy ever?
This is a tough one to call as there have been many wonderful finds throughout the years. I have always said that you don't find things....they find you, and in this instance that certainly applied. I worked for nine years at our City Public Library. The lady who was the assistant to the Head Librarian, had a close childhood friend who lived in Richmond, Virginia. One day, Susie, who knew I loved collecting vintage clothing and vintage costume jewelry, asked if I would be interested in a bunch of old odds and ends that Eve was going to donate to a thrift store. And, of course, I said YES!
Eve sent the items in a brown paper bag and upon first glance there appeared to be an assortment of mismatched parts. I emptied the bag on my desk at the Library and began looking closely at what was there, and soon realized if I could find the pieces to a few things, there were some wonderful treasures before my very eyes! I offered her $150 for the bag, which at the time seemed a crazy price to pay.....I was, in fact, taking a great chance that everything would be there! Susie said she knew Eve would be most happy to take my offer as she had not expected to get anything for the items. After a number of hours of work....piecing together the puzzles....among the items purchased were a marvelous strand of large Victorian Scottish Agate beads with the original clasp, a lava cameo brooch and matching earrings and several mourning items made from jet. These precious items would have been cast in the trash and lost forever had they reached their original destination, as I suspect no one would have realized the treasures in that little brown paper bag!
3. What was your most unusual buying experience?
One Sunday afternoon, my husband and son and I were out for one of our usual treasure hunts when we stopped at a small antique mall in Smithfield, Virginia. We made stops here every now and then to see what was new from the vendors. I had never really found anything of note here, but on this particular Sunday, I happened to look in a showcase filled with small tools and what I like to say was mostly things that men would admire and there, right before my very eyes, was a beautiful Victorian bangle. I immediately recognized that it was probably from the 1860's-1870's time period and just knew it was wonderful. I could hardly contain myself long enough to find someone to open the case, but finally found a nice gentleman who was working the case. When he opened the case, I couldn't help but think how unlikely this dainty item appeared sitting among the many tools. I purchased the piece and when I got home that evening, I was most happy with my purchase of an 18kt. gold Victorian Etruscan style bangle bracelet set with a coral bead and a small rose cut diamond. In the back of the bracelet was a compartment for hair with the original glass covering. The bracelet was priced at $15.00 and there was 10% discount offered by the dealer! It always pays to leave no stone unturned.
4. If you had a time machine which decade or year would you choose to go back to and bring back some clothing or jewelry?
The clothing and jewelry from the 1940's has always held a special attraction for me.
5. What are your favorite, most helpful reference materials/sources?
Even though I now use the Internet quite extensively for research ( Vintage Fashion Guild is absolutely a gold mine), I still have several wonderful books that I love to peruse for reference. For jewelry, I think I have used the books written by C. Jeanenne Bell and Christie Romero (she wrote for Warman's) so many times. Jeanenne's "Answers to Questions About Old Jewelry 1840-1950 is very helpful for identification. For clothing, I have used so many.....Antique Trader Vintage Clothing Price Guide edited by Kyle Husfloen and Madeleine Kirsch is a good basic beginner guide, as well as Antique & Vintage Fashions, 1745 to 1979 written by Barbara Johnson, Ph.D. Auction catalogs are great resource books, too! Since I love hats, I have enjoyed 1000 Hats written by Norma Shephard and Vintage Hats & Bonnets 1770-1970 written by Susan Langley. I never tire of looking and reading books about some of my very favorite things in the world....Vintage Clothing and Jewelry!
6. What item were you most tempted to keep that is available in
your shop right now?
Another hard choice, as I love all of my "children" so to speak, but if I have choose, I would pick item #166.....a beautiful red silk evening dress designed by Hanae Mori. The material is so gorgeous and the dress is simple elegance!